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  • Writer's pictureAussieEspañol

Eating Out as a Vegan in Latin America

The concept of vegetarian is foreign for most natives and don’t even get me started on vegan. The native latinos are generally all incredibly supportive and patient people and with just some basic Spanish, can come to create miracles with a Latin American spin on what would usually be a basic meal.

For this I’ve found it’s instead best to memorise the phrase of “no come carne, ni pollo, ni pescado y también no come huevo, leche y queso.” From that they’ll get the gist of your request and almost always assist to help get something going. Also getting to know the traditional dishes that are accidentally vegan or almost are that can be substituted/ have items removed to have some sort of go to meal.

A free app 'Drops' is a flashcard learning strategy that can be a great place to start to begin to learn food names as they'll use reply with a question, listing ingredients they have that could be used to make something work.

My first attempt at a vegan feed from a chicken shop proved a success so this became a great last option in desperation or when eating out with other Latinos. The chicken shop feed pictured in the middle was the fourth place I asked along the same street as the previous had all had their rice pre-prepared with either egg or bacon or both.

With a bit of especially in a bigger city (Santa Cruz, Bolivia as pictured above), you can find Vegan Only Spots making traditional foods vegan, which is my favourite way to get amongst the food culture and always spoil myself in these places while using the excuse of supporting as justification. These restaurants are the minority but definitely have their niche fit and are growing in popularity. They also attract foreigners, and pretty chill natives and meeting new people or catching some vibes definitely helped me connect with others when arriving in a new city.

Of course cooking is the old reliable, especially when the suburb grocery shops have all you could need for so cheap. The style of shopping in Latin America is a lot of fun and very unique. You'll go to one shop for bread and my favourite pre-pizza (a pre-cooked onion/tomato base pizza, perfect for adding a few toppings and chucking in the oven), then another shop for fruit and veg, then another separate for place for nuts, grains and specialty items (great for vegans and commonly known as a diatetica) and finally another small shop for any cleaning and household supplies. In some Airbnb's and hostels cooking is fun and easy but in the budget hotels, cooking spaces just aren't there.

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